Moonlight Saving Time for Us, Please!

Sheet music for Moonlight Saving TimeWe’re awfully fond of the Harry RichmanIrving Kahal tune, (There Oughta Be a) Moonlight Saving Time, and we invariably think of it on this day every spring.

It was recorded by a wide variety of artists and orchestras when it debuted back in 1931, from Ambrose and His Mayfair Hotel Orchestra to Maurice Chevalier, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, and Jay Wilbur’s Hottentots, but our favorite rendition, in large part because she sings the verses as well as the chorus (unlike most of the other artists who have recorded, back then and in the years since) is by Cladrite Radio sweetheart Annette Hanshaw, who recorded the song in New York City on May 9, 1931, accompanied by Jimmy Dorsey on clarinet, Sammy Prager on piano and Eddie Lang on guitar.

Our gal Annette’s performance of the song manages to be simultaneously playful, sincere and just a little bit saucy, which shouldn’t be surprising. She was a terrific singer, and it’s a catchy and clever song. Enjoy!

(There Oughta Be a) Moonlight Savings Time

Birdies fly with new ambition,
Spring is in their song.
Soon you’ll find yourself a-wishin’
Days were not so long.
If my thought is not defined,
Listen while I speak my mind:

There oughta be a moonlight saving time
So I could love that boy o’ mine
Until the birdies wake and chime ‘Good morning!’

There oughta be a law in clover time
To keep that moon out overtime,
To keep each lover’s lane in rhyme till dawning.

You’d better hurry up, hurry up
Hurry up, get busy today.
You’d better croon a tune, croon a tune
To the man up in the moon,
And here’s what I’d say:

There oughta be a moonlight saving time
So I could love that boy of mine
Until the birdies wake and chime ‘Good morning!’

In January, the nights are very long
But that’s all right.
In happy June comes the honeymoon time;
Days are longer than the nights.

In lovetime season, the moon’s the reason
For every cuddle and kiss.
When days are longer, the nights are shorter.
Something should be done about this.

Oh, there oughta be a moonlight saving time
To make the morning glories climb
An hour later on the vine each morning.

You sorta need a moon to bill and coo,
An old back porch, a birch canoe.
A parlor lamp in June won’t do, I’m warning.

I’ve heard the farmer say, ‘I’ll make hay
While the sun is shining above.’
But when the day is done, night’s begun;
You can ask the farmer’s son, it’s time to make love.

There oughta be a moonlight saving time
So I could love that boy of mine
Until the birdies wake and chime ‘Good morning!’

Words by Irving Kahal; music by Harry Richman—1931

Happy birthday, Kitty Kallen!

Kitty Kallen quoteSadly, there aren’t terribly many performers still with us who enjoyed success during the Cladrite Era—all the more reason, then, to celebrate songbird Kitty Kallen‘s 93rd birthday.

Kallen, born Katherine Kalinsky in 1922 in Philadelphia, sang on the radio as a child on a program called The Children’s Hour, which was sponsored by Horn and Hardart, the Automat people, and as a teenager, she had occasions to sing with the big bands of Jan Savitt (in 1936), Artie Shaw (in 1938), and Jack Teagarden (in 1940).

At 21, she replaced Helen O’Connell as the singer for the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, primarily performing duets with Bob Eberly. After Eberly entered military service in 1943, Kallen joined the Harry James Orchestra, with whom she sang on several hit songs, including two—“I’m Beginning To See the Light” and “It’s Been a Long, Long Time”—that reached #1 on the charts.

But Kallen’s career didn’t end when the big band era did. Her 1954 hit, “Little Things Mean a Lot,” was number one in the U.S. for nine weeks and remained on chart for nearly seven months, selling more than two million copies in the process. She had many more hits throughout the 1950s and early ’60s

She also appeared frequently on television, on Broadway in Finian’s Rainbow, in many of the world’s top nightclubs and in at least one motion picture. On her final album, Quiet Nights, she sang in the bossa nova style. A lung ailment would eventually force her retirement, but Ms. Kallen is still with us and we sincerely hope she enjoys a wonderful birthday today.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … Happy New Year!

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve Eve. Just two more days, and we’ll all be cursing ourselves for writing 2011 on our checks.

With just a few hours remaining till the ball drops in Times Square, toasts are raised, and midnight smooches are shared, we thought we’d make a present to the Cladrite community of All Star New Years Dancing Party, an hour-long radio program that originally aired on the Armed Forces Radio Service on December 31st, 1945.

The program, which is hosted by Harry James, features performances from across the country and around the world by such legendary big bands as the Count Basie Orchestra in New York City, Freddy Martin‘s outfit performing from Los Angeles’ Cocoanut Grove night club, Woody Herman and His Orchestra in New Jersey, Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars from Club Zanzibar in Manhattan, and many more.

It’s a fine way to welcome in a brand new year.

All-Star New Year’s Eve Dancing Party—12/31/1945 (1 hr., 4 sec.)

The Dorseys do it up right

If you’re a regular listener to Cladrite Radio (and if you’re not, don’t you think you ought to be?), you’ve no doubt heard the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra‘s 1935 bouncy recording of “Lullaby of Broadway” as part of our current playlist. But we like it so much, we decided to feature it here, as well.

It’s a song that’s been recorded by many orchestras and artists over the years, but this rendition, with Bob Crosby on vocals (Bing‘s brother, don’t you know, which must have felt in those days like being Babe Ruth‘s singles-hitting sibling), is a particular favorite of ours. When the backing vocalists slide in to sing counterpoint at the 1:28 mark, we’re left feeling downright gleeful. And when, after that, the orchestra takes over to bring the recording to a rousing finish — well, it’s as toe-tapping a 2 minutes and 44 seconds as one could hope for.

But don’t take our word for it — give it a listen.

The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra — “Lullaby of Broadway” (1935)

The Karen Files, pt. 7

Another in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the life of our mother:

It’s easy, sometimes, to think of our parents as somehow older than they are. We too often were guilty of thinking of Karen as being of the Greatest Generation, of imagining her listening and dancing to the big bands during the height of the Swing Era.

But she was born in 1933. She was just a child when Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and the rest were flying high. Heck, she was just 11 when Glenn Miller died.

She remembered and enjoyed that music, sure, much as we remember and enjoy the pop music of the 1960s, when we were kids. But it wasn’t the music of her adolescence and young adulthood. She grew into young womanhood during the post-big band era, when the focus moved to vocalists. Big bands were still around, sure, but they weren’t the dominant force they had been.

Hers was the era of pre-rock ‘n’ roll vocalists like Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Nat “King” Cole, Patti Page, and Margaret Whiting.

For that matter, Karen wasn’t so old when rock ‘n’ roll began to capture the nation’s attention. She was 21 when Bill Haley and the Comets recorded “Rock Around the Clock” in 1954 and 23 when Elvis Presley‘s recording of “Heartbreak Hotel” became a No. 1 hit in 1956. She wasn’t likely to be found among the squealing teens at a Presley performance, but she wasn’t necessarily old enough to view the young rock-n-roller with the alarmed disapproval so many of her elders did. Presley was, after all, less than two years younger than Karen.

Similarly, we’re often a bit surprised to be reminded that Karen was just a kid during World War II and the events that preceded the United States’ involvement in it. This was brought home to me by the documents that make up this week’s installment of The Karen Files, which we found while sorting through the thousands of snapshots and documents Karen left behind.

The documents accompanying this text are pages from ration books. Until coming across these, we had no idea that children received ration booklets, too. It makes sense, though; obviously, a family of ten would have greater needs than a family of three, so assigning each child their own ration books (to be used, no doubt, by their parents) seems the ideal way to assure that each family gets what’s coming to it.

We’ve scanned and posted all the pages of the ration books for your consideration here. Perhaps many of you have seen ration books before—after all, every American had one, and of those millions of books, surely not a few got stashed when they were no longer needed, for later generations to come across, as we did, in dusty cartons long stowed away in attics or basements.

We learned a few not terribly weighty details about Karen’s life in May, 1942, from these documents. She lived at 509 South 4th Street in Okemah, Oklahoma (we knew she had grown up in a different house than the one where we visited our grandparents, but we didn’t know where it was). She was nine years old, stood four feet and one-half inches tall, and weighed 68 pounds. Her eyes were blue then, as always, and her hair was listed as blonde (light brown, we’d have to call it). Again, these details have no real import, but small things can have an impact when you’re trying to imagine loved ones at particular points in their lives.

We wish we’d thought to ask Karen what the heck she thought of Elvis Presley when he hit the national stage or how it felt to be a child during World War II. There are so many questions that we don’t think to ask our folks, even when we spend a lot of time thinking about the old days. Then a loved one’s mind grows feeble, due to illness or advanced age, or a life comes unexpectedly to an end, and it’s too late to ask.

View all this week’s Karen Files images.